Lokanath trained Talisker and Athletic Star were responsible for two of the biggest upsets of the day in a lacklustre card of nine events that were gone through on Saturday. Talisker won the day`s feature, the 1400 metres Kempe Gowda Cup, a race for horses rated 80 and above, returning dividend of over 40 to 1. Athletic Star had no takers at double the odds. Overall, the quality of racing was poor.
Yourewindsofchange, who had won three races in a row during the summer season, was backed to the exclusion of the rest to maintain his winning streak. The horse was running in the highest class for the first time but still he was the best supported horse as the others in the fray did not inspire confidence in the market. In such a situation, either the favourite wins or if there is an upset, it is difficult for anyone to predict such a horse. It turned out to be so as Talisker who had won twice at Mysore after more than a year`s gap, benefitted by the four kg allowance claimed by Arshad Alam and managed to edge past the favourite in the dying moments of the race. Yourewindsofchange had won hitherto in situations where he was not seriously contested and for the first time he faced competition and found it difficult to deliver. Talisker had run a good fourth in his last outing but it was difficult to pick him as the winner.
The turf club`s policy of equitable distribution of horses for each trainer ignoring merit is bound to backfire, with the quality of racing reduced to what it was on Saturday. It was difficult to pick winners with any degree of conviction as the horses participating in most races did not have surface form and one had to rely on wild guesses to decide on what would probably win. Unfortunately for punters, most of their fancies became wild chases.
Lad King did the job of a pace setter as the field set out for the seven furlong trip followed by Aristos, Yourewindsofchange, Talisker, Sun Stone, Kyles of Bute, Shivalik Prince, Spark of Silver, Atlas Power and Rip Van Winkle. Half way through the race it was evident that Shivalik Prince was struggling and would not be in the fighting line. Rounding the final turn, Yourewindsofchange came smoothly to take over the running as Aristos faded out. However, the favourite could not break away as Talisker was hot on his heels and overhauled the front runner in the shadow of the post. Spark of Silver, as is his wont, made a late rally to finish a close third. For four kg claimer, Arshad Alam, this was a big career win.
Athletic Star made it a double blow for punters by bringing off the biggest upset of the day following the footsteps of stablemate Talisker. Esteban, Cielo Signore, Simpleton and Volcano had their share of supporters but none thought that Athletic Star who was a recent entrant to Lokanath`s stable would play spoilsport. Athletic Star found gaps opening miraculously in the straight as he made his move from the rear and came into strong contention along with Esteban inside the final furlong. Athletic Star proved the fitter of the two as he quickened to edge out Esteban who should make amends next time out. Swift Star who raced prominently was a good third ahead of late finishing Simpleton. Cielo Signore made no show while Volcano totally disappointed.
Whenever two horses of the same owner run, trained by two different trainers, run in a race, it is the lesser fancied one which often wins. Possibly because jockeys are rarely adept at picking the right horses and if punters chose to go with Cheval D`or ahead of Apparition in the 1100 metres Novice Plate, the first race for two year olds this season, they were not to be blamed. The first named had worked better than Apparition. Everything also depends on the market buzz. Cheval D`Or attempted start to finish tactics with Golden Princess chasing him followed by Apparition and the rest. Cheval D`Or quickened in the run in for home but could not shake off ownermate who made a spirited bid. Apparition managed to get the better of the favourite in the closing stages of the race. The duo was well clear of Jersey Shore who pipped Golden Princess for the third slot.
Sicily managed to survive by the skin of his teeth over Mi Amor in the 1400 metres Belgaum Plate (Div I), a race for horses rated 40 to 65. Mi Amor was the favourite but close to race time there was inspired support on Grand Success who almost ended as a joint favourite. Sicily had his share of supporters. Grand Success led the field into the straight but could not sustain and was easily passed by Sicily. Under the strong riding of DeSousa, Siciliy saved the day as Mi Amor picked up steam rather late and closed the leeway menacingly. Too Cold To Hold was an eye-catching third. The unplaced effort of Sound after two successive wins at Mysore was the reason why the Satish Narredu trainee was neglected in the betting ring. Smart Exotic did the pace making before weakening at the top of the straight. Lesser fancied Royal Spirit shaped like a winner as he easily collared the front runner but much to the chagrin of his supporters, Sound came alongside and went away for an effortless win. African Queen ran on to finish third ahead of Arun.
Sriram Komandur trained Pack Ur Bags was the only strong favourite to win during the day`s action. Backed as odds on choice in a field where none of the runners inspired confidence, Pack Ur Bags had to survive a scare from rank outsider Raaga before managing to win the Hemavathi Cup (Div I), a race for horses rated 20 to 45. Jaggy Dhariwal trained Sukhmanee won the lower division of the race quite easily as the saddle slip on Vistabella prevented the horse from posing a serious threat to the winner.
Vega who got a fortuitous opening inside the final furlong, surged ahead and just about held on to win from late finishing Allianz, the 1600 metres Beloved Prince Plate. Closer home, it looked like any one among Vega, Allianz, Provocateur or Fantastic Strike could win. The first named managed to win from Allianz who despite a sluggish start was full of running at the finish.
Babu Rao trained Badri came in for inspired betting and the got abroad four year old gelding, despite a lethargic beginning, covered ground rapidly in the straight to measure Isle of Fire and Surprisesucceeding in the dying moments of the 1200 metres Chintamani Plate, a race for horses in the lowest category.